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April, 2012

  1. A professional’s opinion

    April 29, 2012 by Suzi


    First. I got tagged in the Lucky 7 Meme by Stephanie Sinkhorn. I’ve already done it, so if you want to read it, go here.

    So Yesterday I attended the SCBWI Dakota Conference. It was a small event with only about 30 people, but we had three great speakers. Author Cindy Kane, Illustrator Carrie Hartman and Editor Brian Farrey-Latz from Flux—the young adult imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide.

    Writing is a balancing act

    Brian’s presentation was the one with the most information that pertained to me. He’s a dynamic speaker and is fun to listen to. One thing he spoke about was making sure we’re balancing the plot—the action, with the internally emotions of the main character.
    Apparently this is one of my problems with FROSTY.
    I signed up for the 15 minute manuscript critique session with Brian. (My first 1500 words) This was so cool because as I said, he’s an actual editor at a publisher that works solely with YA.
    Some of the ladies there (ladies cause there were only 3 men out of 20 and 2 were speakers) were nervous about their critique. I wasn’t nervous, but I hoped it wasn’t going to be ALL negative.
    He had some good things to say and of course pointed out the negative. Overall I was happy to hear what he said and the bad stuff didn’t surprise me.
    Three months ago, I got a critique from someone else in the industry and she commented that things were moving too slowly at the beginning. And that I had too many inner thoughts. So I revised and deleted 12,000 words. I think I went overboard. It wasn’t balanced.
    Setting and description isn’t my strong suit to begin with, but I cut too much of what I did have at the beginning. Many of the places where I cut are where Brian suggested I add more detail. I’m not going to bring back everything I cut because the key is balance. I just need a little more to establish my setting.
    I also need to add some more internal thoughts. No big conversations, but just a line or two every occasionally.
    After I met with Brian, I skimmed through his comments. Most of them are about adding a detail or two. Or to take a few lines and move them out of their current spot to somewhere else.
    It was a lot of great comments and I’m glad I decided to do the critique. Even though it was a one day conference and didn’t have a lot of attendees, I learned a lot and met a ton of new people.
    Now time to get back to work.
    Have you ever had an editor or a literary agent critique your work? How did it go?

  2. Oh, My Hero! Blog Hop

    April 27, 2012 by Suzi

    Thank you to Jaycee and Victoria for hosting the Oh My Hero! Blog Hop.
    My Hero: Mike Logan
    Title: Untitled WIP, Adult Contemporary

    When Mike and Savannah meet in the Bahamas, they both know they want to spend the rest of their lives together. They just might make it, despite the disapproval of family and friends, Savannah’s ex-lovers that won’t go away and Mike’s inner demons. But just as Savannah is about to get everything she’s ever wanted, a killer seeking revenge threatens to take it all away.


    Mike Logan (played by Danny Pino who even plays a cop on TV)

    “Mike. It’s nice to meet you.” I shake hands with my next hunky hottie. Tall. Well-built. Smoldering dark eyes. His grip is tight with rough skin, unlike some of the girly-men I’d interviewed. Ten Hottest Men in Miami. Sometimes I love my job.

    “This is my fiancée, Savannah.” His eyes sweep the room before landing on me again.
    Savannah steps forward to offer her hand; her bright sundress grabs my attention. “Hey, thanks for letting me sit in. I love your magazine.”
    “Thanks. Why don’t you have a seat.” The burgundy stripes in are dark brown hair are cool, but I can’t get away with something radical like that at my job. “So, as you know, Mike, your friend Kiera nominated you for our Miami Nites annual Hottest Men contest.” I skim her application. “She said that you have always been there for her over the years.”
    “Yeah, I saved her ass a time or two. Or ten.” He chuckles. “If it were anyone else, I wouldn’t be here right now. Of course after this one found out.” He nudges Savannah. “She wouldn’t let me decline.”
    “You know it, baby.” Savannah slides her hand into the crook of his arm and squeezes.

    “Let me review a few things. Correct me if needed. You were born in Miami Springs. Moved to Coral Gables in high school. University of Florida for college. Then back to Miami for the police academy. And now you’ve been with Miami-Dade Police Department for six years working in the narcotics undercover unit.” I look back up, and he nods. “We’ve heard a lot about you recently with everything you went through. So who is the real Mike Logan? Can you describe him with one word? I’ve heard him called a hero.”

    Mike’s face clouds over, and he doesn’t answer right away. One of the reasons we chose him was because of his bravery.
    Well that and his rugged looks. Sexy Latino men drive the women wild–me included.

    Four weeks ago he took down two drug dealers in a deal gone bad. The police are still searching for the third brother who escaped. I wish I could ask him about that story, about his partner that was murdered in cold blood, but this isn’t the place.


    He scratches his shoulder, drawing my attention to the tattoos covering his arms. Most of our top ten men are fairly clean-cut. Maybe one or two tattoos, but not this many. “I’m just a guy.”

    Just a guy, huh. False modesty or real? Rumors were floating that he inheritated quite a bit of money from his parents death years ago. That he probably didn’t ever need to work again, but yet continues to live a simple life. “Then how would your friends describe you?”

    Before he opens his mouth, Savannah blurts out, “Loyal, generous, sexy.”

    I clap my hand over my mouth to stop my laugh. Mike rolls his eyes. “That’s three,” he says. “And they would never call me sexy.” Savannah grins.

    “So how do you relax in your time off?”
    Mike’s face softens. “With a cold beer. Grilling a steak with my friends and family.”

    I scribble down his answers. “Now our lady readers will be a little disappointed to find you are unavailable, but they’d still like to know what is your idea of a perfect date.”

    Mike’s smile widens as he looks to Savannah. “I don’t think you can print that.”  Savannah gives him a little wink before he turns back. “A bottle of Merlot. A private midnight cruise with a beautiful lady.”

    On a boat, under the stars with him… definitely. “How about your perfect woman?”

    “She’s right there.” He points to Savannah.

    “Ahh, you’re so sweet.” She squeezes his arm again and their eyes lock. I feel as if I’m interrupting something.

    He breaks her gaze and looks back to me. “Yeah, well what else could I say with her here?” Savannah gives him a look of mock indignation. “But seriously, I would say someone who’s real. Confident. Beautiful and strong.” Savannah smiles softly at him.

    My official questions are done, but I’m curious about their story. “I heard that you two were engaged after knowing each other for only a week. Was it love at first sight?”

    “More like lust.” Mike keeps a straight face even after Savannah punches him in the arm. “But yeah, she put me under her spell. We’ll be married this fall.”
    Maybe I should take a trip to the Bahamas. Find some hot guy to take care of me. “Well that covers it. Now you get to go see the photographer. The shoot will probably take longer than this.” I point to the door. Can’t wait to see his pictures. Mike is definitely model material.

    “Great,” he says with a small sigh.
    “Let’s go.” Savannah jumps up and tugs on his arm. “This is going to be so much fun.”
    Mike mutters something under his breath, which makes Savannah smile. I thank him and watch as she leads him to the doorway.

    FYI: If you made it to the end. These characters are from the very first novel I started. It is temporarily trunked because I’ve moved onto other things and before I can really get into revision, I need to take a trip to Miami and The Bahamas.
    As soon as I sell my first story, I will be making that trip. I hope sooner than later.


  3. The Big Reveal

    April 24, 2012 by Suzi


    Welcome to The Big Reveal.
    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them. Some of these ladies have helped me with my own work, or given me advice on blogging or writing, so check out their blogs and see what they’re about.


    One more note:This is our final week having Krista Van Dolzer on The Big Reveal and
    we will be welcoming two new writers starting next week. So thank you to Krista for participating and good luck in your upcoming submission process.


    Pantser, plannner or in-between?


    Jade Hart, Un-agented author
    I’m a total panster – as long as it’s flowing I’ll keep following where my characters are leading me. I love just writing by the seat of my pants as I get the best of both worlds. I get to write – which I adore – and read something I’ve never thought of before which is awesome :) I do start to plan half way through as I tend to dry up a bit in the middle. I do more research or think what my end goal will be and then it starts to flow again. I don’t think I could ever plan everything though, I go on so many twists and turns that I never could of come up with if I sat down and tried to imagine it. It’s not until the character has evolved through the story that inspiration hits 😉


    Janet Taylor, Un-agented author
    My first novel, I was 100%–a naive pantser. I didn’t know any better. Although it was absolutely thrilling, not knowing what would happen to my characters from one day to the next, I would never do it that way again. I’m in-between now. I have a general outline of where things need to go. But within that outline- all kinds of exciting, unexpected things occur.


    Stacy Stokes, Un-agented author
    I’m a panster with the occasion bout of organization. “Organization” meaning that I may write out a loose outline or scribble a thought down so I don’t forget it, but usually I just sit down and see what happens.


    Me (Suzi) Un-agented author
    I’ve mostly been a pantser, but I’m learning more about plotting. I think I’ll be somewhere in-between. Sometimes the urge to write hits and you just want to go with it. I’ve don’t write in any order and jump around to wherever I want.


    Joelene B. Perry, Published author
    I have to have a general idea before I start, but sometimes I start with a single scene, and the story builds from there. I’ve NEVER written in order. The only time I come close is when I’m doing a collaboration (I’m on my second now). If I plot too far ahead, or know all the ways my story will be tied together, it takes some of the mystery out of it, and I lose steam.


    Liesl Shurtliff, Pre-published author
    Inbetween. I do a fair amount of pre-writing—character sketches, world building, and history of both character and setting. For the plot I have a rough idea of beginning, middle, and end, but other than that I just go with it and I’m often surprised along the way.


    Mindy McGinnis, Pre-published author
    Totally a panster, like to the freak degree. I start writing and write linearly and let what happens, happen.

    Krista Van Dolzer, Agented author
    I’m definitely somewhere in between. I used to be a hard-core pantser, then morphed into a hard-core planner, and now I just do whatever feels right. (I didn’t outline Steve AT ALL before I wrote him, and I managed to pump out his first draft in about a month, so I must be faster when I don’t plan.)

    Melodie Wright, Agented author
    Both. I know where each chapter is going but sometimes the story goes a direction I didn’t expect. Most of my writing happens before I sit down – usually late at night before I sleep or first thing when I wake up. I also plot while driving or walking or doing the dishes. Pretty much anytime my mind gets a break from immediate daily life stuff.

    Ryann Kerekes, Agented author
    I guess I would say in-between. When I first begin writing, I was a meticulous plotter. For my first MS, I had a spreadsheet with every scene, who was in it, what the conflict was, and as I finished writing one scene, I’d consult the spreadsheet for what was next. It was like writing by numbers. Once I knew I could actually write a whole book – with an actual plot –I trusted myself more. Now I am much more relaxed about it. Before I begin writing the story, I typically do a character sketch for each main character and several pages of notes about how the story progresses, the main conflict and how it’s resolved, working in the character’s arcs. And then as I write, since I ultimately know where the story is heading, I can make up the scenes as I go, or rather let the characters tell me how they are going to get there. They usually surprise me with something way better than what I could have thought of. One thing that has helped me too is watching the Plot Whisperer series of videos (on YouTube) by Martha Alderson. It’s basically a free writing course in how to plot! I highly suggest it.

    Cassie Mae, Un-agented author
    Pantser. I imagine the climax of the story and just write to get there. Then I imagine the end and write to get there. I’ve surprised myself even with the stuff that flies from the keyboard.

    You know, just as I’m about to post this, I noticed something. Is it spelled pantster or panster or pantser? I’ve found all spellings on the internet. Anybody know which is the official spelling?

     So where do you fall?

  4. Can you sell yourself?

    April 22, 2012 by Suzi

    WIP Coaching Update: I don’t have much to say about WIP Coaching because now I’m putting Gabi to work. We spoke this week about my ‘homework’ and went over some questions I had. Now she is going to critique my first fifty and let me know what some of my big problems are. I look forward to hearing what she has to say.
    So onto selling yourself.

    Last week I attended the North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers annual engineering conference. I rode up early with my dad, who had a meeting to attend. I had one full day to myself with nothing to do and no kids around. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon doing writing stuff. (Stuff being writing, editing, blogging…) Then I met with a college friend and her kids and had a great afternoon. I wish I had more days like that.
    The annual conference was a day and a half and consists of a business meeting, a banquet and lots of seminars. Licensed professional engineers renew their license every two years (at least where I live) and one of the requirements is 30 hours of continuing ed.
    At one of the seminars, I had to write a pitch… for myself. Or a personal branding statement as the speaker from Dale Carnegie Business group called it.
    And she only gave us five minutes.
    That’s not long enough and I struggled. I don’t do much engineering work so how could I put into words a way to sell myself? There were some questions to help you develop your statement.
    *What qualities or characteristics do you have that cause you to stand out from others in your field? Umm, I’m a woman. That’s all I came up with. And by the way, there were only three women attending this conference out of fifty people, so I think that qualifies. But since I haven’t worked full time since my son was born 7 years ago, I don’t have a specialty I’ve developed.
    *What would your colleagues or clients say if your greatest strength? You mean my kids; I suppose they’re my only colleagues. I make a good mac and cheese, maybe.
    *What do you do that adds or brings remarkable, measurable, distinctive value to other people and organizations? I’m a good listener. (But how does that relate to engineering?) Most of my projects have been fairly standard and unremarkable, so once again, I had nothing.
    What I came up with was pathetic. And luckily, I got to read it to a total stranger because the DC session was very interactive. I’m not a fan of interactive sessions, especially when the speaker can call on you. The other guy’s was very good and he admitted he’d done this all before, but it made mine look all the more sad.

    So what I already knew was that I’m no good at selling myself. This will have to change when I become published because writers need to promote themselves and their books. But for some reason, selling my book doesn’t seem as hard as selling my engineering skills. Maybe it is, I guess I’ll find out when I get there.
    Are you good at selling yourself or your writing?

  5. Sloppy Writing 101.13

    April 20, 2012 by Suzi

    FYI: Amy Sonnichsen at The Green Bathtub is celebrating her birthday and getting to the 300 follower mark by doing a critique giveaway. Check it out. And Happy Birthday Amy.
    Sloppy Writing 101.13
    I have such a problem with some words. Read below.
    -We sat down to do some paperwork and Jim wrinkled up his nose.
    -I’d be lucky if I go to some crappy community college.
    -I could save up for some two year college. (This occurred right after the above sentence.)
    -I’d tell them a good story about some vacation I took there.
    Obviously the oft repeated word is some. Now I can’t just delete it in all cases, but I need to use a instead–it’s much cleaner. I found 142 occurrences of some in an old FROSTY ms, and quite a few of them can be deleted or replaced.
    Some would be a good word used to distinguish a character from another by using it in their dialogue, but otherwise I would clean away the others.

  6. The Big Reveal

    April 17, 2012 by Suzi


    Welcome to The Big Reveal.
    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them. Some of these ladies have helped me with my own work, or given me advice on blogging or writing, so check out their blogs and see what they’re about.


    Do you prefer writing with real or imaginary settings?
    What do you prefer to read?


    Cassie Mae, Un-agented author
    Real. I love researching them too. I prefer to read YA, in any setting or genre. Harry Potter will always be a setting I would love to go to. Universal Studios! Here I come

    Jade Hart, Un-agented author
    Again this is tricky to answer as I love to write about locations I’ve been to, but imaginary is also cool as the normal rules don’t apply if you don’t want them to. I dabble with both in my current WIP. It’s based in India and a little bit in Egypt but there’s also God realms and under-worlds which were fun to write. Quite a few books stand out to me with a wonderful setting: Clan of the Cave bear in the Ice Age. Cross-stitch series based in old england and scotland. Any location which is beautifully described and almost becomes another character is wonderful :)


    Janet Taylor, Un-agented author
    Even though I write about Time Travel, I am no science fiction-type world builder. I admire those people, like JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins who can come up with the most intricate yet vital details. As most of my story takes place in the year 1190, building settings rich in historical detail is very important. It doesn’t come naturally to me, the way writing dialogue does, so I have to work at it. Try to improve and grow, by reading others and studying craft. For me, no one does historical fiction like Diana Gabaldon. She’s a bestselling author of a Time Travel series called Outlander. Her people and places come alive in your hands.

    Stacy Stokes, Un-agented author
    Personally, I prefer writing real settings vs. imaginary, but I enjoy reading both. I recently read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and loved both the real world setting in Prague and the imagined setting in Elsewhere.

    Me (Suzi) Un-agented author
    I write mostly contemporary, so it’s all in the here and now. I’ve never created a brand new world for a story and think it might be difficult. I enjoy reading stories that take place in all different settings, but I probably end up reading mostly contemporary.

    Joelene B. Perry, Published author
    I prefer real settings – hence the contemporary. I’ve written a sci-fi that needs some tweaking, and have two paranormals that are out with readers right now, but I prefer contemp. Right now the settings I love take place in cities, because I miss living in the city (I’m in Wasilla, Alaska right now and it is NOT a city, lol)

    Liesl Shurtliff, Pre-published author
    A little of both? I think my imaginary settings always have some connection to real places, like the mountain village in RUMP is very connected to the mountains where I spent a great deal of my childhood. I don’t know that I have a preference as to the type of setting I like to read. Some authors weave setting (whether real or imaginary) into their story better than others. Erin Morgenstern’s THE NIGHT CIRCUS uses setting brilliantly. (And the whole thing is just brilliant, really.)


    Mindy McGinnis, Pre-published author
    I do both / either. I like the freedom of imaginary settings, but it’s also easy to lose your head in them. I’ll read any setting, as long as the writer sells it to me. THE STAND – I’ll say I love the setting, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in it.

    Krista Van Dolzer, Agented author
    I tend to throw imaginary elements into real settings:) In Steve’s case, I threw an imaginary scientific advancement–human cloning–into a real setting–post-WWII rural America.
    As for books with settings I absolutely loved, the Harry Potter series has to be at the top of any list about world building. I also really enjoyed the steampunk setting of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series. (Talk about revisionist history!) But I also love real settings that sparkle when we see them through the main character’s eyes, like the Paris in Stephanie Perkins’s ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.

    Melodie Wright, Agented author
    Either. Depends on the story. I love the Narnia books for their setting, as well as Rosamund Pilcher’s books, which are so luscious you could eat them. Under the Tuscan Sun is another good one.

    Ryann Kerekes, Agented author
    Interesting question. I’m thinking about the last several books I loved and they all had imaginary settings. I read a lot of young adult, so rather than reading book after book set in high school, it’s fun to experience a completely imagined setting.

    So do you prefer real or imaginary settings, for reading and writing?

  7. WIP Coaching: Chloe

    April 15, 2012 by Suzi

    The last time I spoke with Gabi, she gave me homework. It was something I’ve never done with my other stories.


    This is the kind of homework I did in college. I found this picture and though cool, I could’ve done this exact problem. This problem is easy because there’s only one right answer.  
    But with writing, it’s more complicated. I have to figure out the question. Then the answer. Then go back and figure out how to get to the answer.
    So my homework will help me focus on how to get everything in between. Here are the things I need to determine.  

    -Chloe’s long-term goals
    -Chloe’s short-term goals
    -Chloe’s character flaws, which keep her from getting those goals
    -Who Chloe is at the beginning and at the end (and for all the other important characters)
    Additionally, I need to look at my plotting, by determining:
    -the inciting incident that puts everything in motion
    -the turning points, the crucial moments that change the direction of the story
    -the black moment, when everything has fallen apart
    -the ah-ha moment, when Chloe figures it out 
    Plus I needed to re-write things because I will be sending her my first 40-50 pages instead of 20. It’s a good thing I had two weeks this time, because I never would’ve finished this by the week after Easter.
    I’ve got my first 50 pages. I re-arranged and added a new scene. I have most of the goals and now I need to decide how a few of the supporting characters change.
    So for other writers out there, do you do things like these? Does it help you?

  8. Sloppy Writing 101.12

    April 13, 2012 by Suzi

    I have another word I seem to use too often.
     -Lana did most of the talking as Brooke seemed to watch the den door.

    -Everybody seemed to dump their bags and books on the floor, and I didn’t want to trip.

    -He seemed to flirt with a lot of girls.
    Seemed to is unnecessary in most cases, as you can see by my above examples, especially when it’s followed by a verb. Why would I use seemed to when I can just use the verb?

    -Lana did most of the talking as Brooke watched the den door.

    -Everybody dumped their bags and books on the floor, and I didn’t want to trip.

    -He flirted with a lot of girls.
    I cut out six words in those three sentences, which are much stronger now. You don’t have to get rid of all your seems, but just make sure they are necessary.

  9. The Big Reveal

    April 10, 2012 by Suzi

    Welcome to The Big Reveal.
    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them. Some of these ladies have helped me with my own work, or given me advice on blogging or writing, so check out their blogs and see what they’re about.

    What word(s) or phrases show up way too often in your work?


    Ryann Kerekes, Agented author
    Oh gosh. Unfortunately I have lots of go-tos that I cringe at in the editing process. In no particular order: eyes, starred, look, then, suddenly, smirk. Oh, and people seem to blush a lot!

    Cassie Mae, Un-agented author
    Haha! Depends on which book. There was one when I used ‘So’ in almost every piece of dialog, lol. And ‘yank’ showed up a lot in my last one. Apparently people yanked everything! One of my cp’s said, um… you can use pull sometimes. Haha!

    Jade Hart, Un-agented author
    Lol, there’s quite a few!! Umm, let’s see. There’s: Stared, just and again.


    Janet Taylor, Un-agented author
    I use the word and too much and (see-lol) I’m sure there are others- I have a wonderful critique group that helps me pick up on things like that.

    Stacy Stokes, Un-agented author
    I’ve noticed lately that I use the word “practically” an unnecessary amount of times. As in, “I practically fell out of my chair.” Eek. Plus the usual suspects: that, and, I. etc.

    Me (Suzi) Un-agented author
    That, so and just are my worst offenders. I have many others though, which you can see in my Sloppy Writing posts. Thank goodness for betas and word cloud programs.

    Joelene B. Perry, Published author
    What’s funny is that it changes from project to project. I finished one where JUST was rampant. In another a girl used IDIOT way too often. In another project the best friend said LIKE so much that it even started making ME crazy, and I had to weed them out. Thank GOODNESS for the word search function…

    Liesl Shurtliff, Pre-published author
    In RUMP I was requested to tone down my potty-humor references, which admittedly, I got a little carried away with. But with a MC named RUMP, can anyone be surprised? Other words my editor pointed out a lot were “think” and “know” and my characters’ eyes often “gleamed,” particularly when they were feeling greedy.


    Mindy McGinnis, Pre-published author

    Krista Van Dolzer, Agented author
    “Just,” but I think every writer has a “just” problem:) To be honest, I’ve read so many blog posts on words and phrases to avoid that I often pick up on those when I’m writing the first draft and just delete them right away. (But then, I just used “just” in that last sentence (and this one, too), so what do I know?)

    Melodie Wright, Agented author
    As, as if, rolled her eyes, speech tags used to show up but not so much now.

    So what about you? Which words show up too much in your writing?

  10. WIP Coaching: Chloe

    April 8, 2012 by Suzi


    I had my second coaching Skype sessions with Gabriela Lessa. In preparation, I sent her my list of characters, list of scenes (the end not quite figured out), and my story calendar.

    Wow. Lots of stuff to think about. Too many things flew through my head after we finished. (Shoulda’ taken more notes.) I’m still wondering… did I get this all right? Am I mixing stuff up in my head?  

    Information overload! (Thank goodness I can e-mail her any time I have a question) And I hope she doesn’t read this just in case I messed up something that she said!  

    I had another decision to make. What were the long-term goals for my main character Chloe? I had thought it was for Chloe to become comfortable with her sexuality and to repair the broken relationship with her mother.  
    Then Gabi also asked me what relationship I wanted to concentrate on. The relationship of: Chloe/mother or Chloe/love interest or Chloe/brother? 
    I thought it was for Chloe and her mother, but as I looked through what I had written, I realized that the Chloe/love interest relationship was most important. Chloe still needs to repair the relationship with her mother, but it’s not the main core of my story. If I wanted it to be Chloe/mother, I would have to make some major changes. But that’s not what I wanted.  
    So anyways, the long-term goal for Chloe was to become comfortable with who she was. And the love interest was the main tool that helped her get there. That’s settled.  
    I had given Gabi a list of scenes, some I’ve written, some not and my first twenty pages. She pointed out a few things.  
    My first chapter included a scene with Chloe and her two college suitemates at a frat party. Gabi didn’t think that was a good idea because my first pages gave the wrong impression to the reader—that it was sort of a chick-litish story—which was not my intention.
    Also I don’t want to have a scene just to introduce some characters. And really, that’s all it was. There was no goal for Chloe and it didn’t really move the story forward. It was just a way to introduce Chloe’s suitemates and the guy who becomes her friend. Taking it out won’t affect the story.
    Additionally, starting with a frat party isn’t that interesting or unique and since the two suitemates don’t have that big of role in the story, why would I start with them?
    So I will rearrange and probably take out the frat party chapter/scene.

    Gabi pointed out another thing. I need to make sure I get my focus right. I was focusing too much on the action and not enough on how much it affects Chloe. How does it change her inside? What is her reaction to what happened? Not that I didn’t do this at all, but I concentrated more on the action than the results of that action.
    As I said, it was information overload, and I’m trying to keep everything straight. We covered a lot in a short time.  
    Gabi gave me some “homework,” but I’ll write about that next week because otherwise this post will get too long. I won’t be talking to her this week because there’s no way I’ll get all my homework done since the kids have 3 days off of school and it’s Easter weekend.

    I’m excited because since we last talked, I finally figured out how I want the story to end. I have these little itches to write, but I have other questions to consider and some backstory issues to work out first. Plus I need to re-write my early stuff. So I’ll try ignore those itches.
    But it’s hard.

    Now off to eat more of these.

    Chocolate... yum